Chefs are the new rock stars. And what do people want to do with rock stars? Date them, of course. But it's not exactly as easy as it sounds to meet and then successful date a culinary rock star.
To help — you know, in case that's something you're interested in doing this cuffing season — we talked to five local chefs to help you bag yourself a date.
Tip 1. Yes, You Can Ask for the Chef
First, you’ve got to identify your dream date. The first place you should check? The restaurant’s bar, according to Kelly Fletcher, chef de cuisine at El Chorro. But to make things easy, yes, you can ask for the chef. That clichéd image you have in which a happy restaurant guests asks to thank the chef is real. It happens. And it can make a very big impression.
“It’s a huge deal,” says Lester Gonzales, executive chef at Cowboy Ciao. “You usually don’t take those for granted. It could be good or it could be bad, depending on how you work it.”
Tip 2. Buy the Chef a Drink
It's a stereotype because it's true: Many chefs love to drink, Fletcher says.
“Enjoy drinking, because you’re going to [if you date a chef], I guarantee you," he says. "It’s not a good basis for an absolute non-drinker to date a chef because you’re going to see the mess that comes behind the seams."
Dive bars and chef-driven restaurants are where you’ll want to be to meet chefs. Gonzales recommends the Coach House in Scottsdale.
Tip 3. Don't Be Afraid to Cook for a Chef
Think about it: The last thing you’d want to do when you’ve been cooking all day is cook more. But on the flip side, don't be afraid to cook for a chef.
“Nobody wants to cook for me," says Brian Archibald, executive chef at The Boulders in Scottsdale. "They’re always terrified. It’s ridiculous. This isn’t a Chopped episode. I’m not judging what I’m going to eat ever in my life. If you’re cooking for me and you’re inviting me over and you’re making your mother’s recipe for meatballs or whatever it is, I’m going to be so freakin’ happy because somebody’s cooking and I don’t have to do anything.”
Most chefs would be impressed you even made the effort.
“Just the fact that they’d be brave enough — that says a lot about ‘em,” says Chrysa Robertson, chef/owner of Rancho Pinot. “I love people who do that. Whether they’re trying to date me or just friends or customers. That is the ultimate compliment.”
And if you do cook a chef a bad meal, don’t sweat it.
“I had a really bad pasta Bolognese experience,” Archibald says. “It’s such a simple recipe. She talked about her family recipe. She talked about it forever. It was straight-out-of-a-can tasting. It has that weird metallic metal tomato flavor. I don’t know if anything was made. It was just heated up and served. Super-dry bread. I ate as much as I could. I smiled. I was happy. I wouldn’t go through eating it again. But I still really appreciate it. This person still took hours getting this ready for me. I just made sure that I was doing most of the cooking after that or we just go out.”
Tip 4. Be an Adventurous Diner
“If you’re sitting at Hana [Japanese Eatery] with me and they send out uni, you better be on board,” says Fletcher. “I will not tolerate that. You just eat everything. You have to experience everything in life.”
Tip 5. Don't Insult the Food
If you insult the chef’s food, don’t expect it to last long.
“Sorry, then you don’t like me,” says Josh Nelson, chef at Jobot, on how he would react if a potential date dissed his restaurant. “You don’t like my heart when it’s on a plate. So I’m going to go ahead and not talk to you anymore.”
Tip 6. Expect a Lot of Passion
Someone who has the kind of stamina to work long hours with their hands is someone you’re going to make assumptions about when it comes to their skills in out and of the kitchen.
“It definitely translates to the sex side of it, but it also translates to other expressions,” Fletcher says. “I’m a little over a year into writing a book. I also play classical guitar. Other artistic avenues that we find ourselves going to for some odd reason. We can’t just narrow it down to one thing. In every avenue, you’re going to enjoy it to the ninth degree. You’re going to enjoy it as far as you can possibly take it.”
Tip 7. Don't Expect to be Attached at the Hip
Each and every chef we interviewed echoed the same sentiment: You’re going to find yourself alone, which can sometimes be hard to accept. But the schedule of a successful chef is a packed one. Nelson has, sadly, experienced this. He waited nine months to go out with one girl. After two amazing dates, they were both planning to meet up but Nelson ended up working an emotionally draining 11-hour day. He texted to let her know he had to cancel, and she ended it.
“Really? I’m sorry, but there’s nothing I can do about that happening,” says Nelson. “I’d much rather be hanging out with a girl I like than going to work any day for the week, ever.”